Microsoft's Power BI has been a successful tool in the analytics market, but the company took a while to make it truly developer-friendly.
Power BI 1.0 had virtually no developer extensibility or integration. Power BI 2.0, however, added an API for pushing data into the cloud service. More recently, the company announced a preview of an Azure Service, called Power BI Embedded, which allows developers to, well, embed Power BI in their applications and pay based on the number of visualizations rendered.
That service is moving out of preview and into general availability (GA) on Monday, and pricing will be based on whole reports -- rather than individual visuals -- served.
Also moving into GA is Power BI "Publish to Web", which allows individual reports to be embedded in websites or reached via public URL for no fee. As a bonus, Microsoft is announcing the availability of a new "Data stories gallery" where reports can be shared.
The combination of Publish to Web and the Data stories gallery would seem to be Microsoft's competitive play against Tableau Public. Competing there is a wise move, given the viral-marketing power of that platform.
Cortana and Bing sitting in a tree
While two previews are coming to an end, a new one is beginning: "Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts" (if Microsoft slaps "Enterprise Edition" on the end of that, the snickering will be deafening).
Also read: Cortana Analytics: Microsoft's cloud analytics prix fixe
The offering, based on the consumer Bing Predicts service, would seem to let customers take advantage of Microsoft's social, search, and web data as an asset that can be used to make predictive machine-learning models more accurate. I'm hoping for more information on this service from Microsoft.
One day, we're gonna see Atlanta
Finally, Microsoft is announcing its first-ever Data Science Summit -- to be co-located with Microsoft Ignite -- at the end of September in Atlanta. This harkens back to Microsoft's last Business Intelligence Conference, which was co-located with Ignite's predecessor, Tech Ed, in New Orleans in 2010.
Also read: Microsoft's R Strategy
I spoke at that event but felt its co-location with Tech Ed was a drag on its popularity. Indeed, the event was not repeated. Given the seriousness with which Redmond is approaching machine learning, R programming, BI, and Big Data, there's a good chance the Data Science Summit will travel on a different trajectory.